Community News

Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel Zohny

Published: July 1, 2020

Chehrazade Chemcham Colgate-Palmolive Company Therwil, Switzerland INTA Bulletins—Europe Subcommittee

Daniel Zohny (Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Switzerland)

Daniel Zohny (Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Switzerland)

FIFA’s head of intellectual property (IP) has his eye on the goal: managing his department, serving as co-chair of INTA’s recent Europe Conference on sports and esports, looking to the future of trademarks, and keeping a deep involvement with INTA

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Daniel Zohny’s job involves managing a department of 10 people, all focusing on trademarks, copyright, and related rights. Mr. Zohny sits on the INTA Board of Directors and recently served as co-chair of this year’s INTA Europe Conference, Brands Sports and Esports: A Brand Revolution, held in Madrid, Spain.

Mr. Zohny describes his department’s role as business partners supporting colleagues in finding realistic solutions. The years leading up to the FIFA World Cup and the year of the World Cup are the busiest periods for the team, and the organization hires additional people to help during those periods. The team’s focus is on prevention and education rather than enforcement. Education is especially critical in the fast-paced digital environment when it is harder to enforce rights because  the line between commercial and non-commercial use is often blurred, and companies are more and more willing to ride the thin line between permissible and non-permissible uses.

When asked about an INTA project he most enjoyed working on, Mr. Zohny mentioned serving as co-chair of this year’s Europe Conference. He particularly enjoyed working with Conference Co-chair Kristin McNulty of Intel Corporation, developing a program that focused on bridging business and legal topics by featuring numerous sports business topics and speakers.

Mr. Zohny greatly values all that INTA has to offer. He is able to keep up with cutting-edge trademark issues, network with peers at a high level, and develop long-lasting professional connections and relationships.

Looking at his own practice, Mr. Zohny views the overcrowding of registers as a huge issue for trademark owners today. It has become increasingly hard to clear names for products and services, and worries that trademark clearance has become more difficult, time consuming, and costly for businesses, he said.Where use-based regimes are in place, he would like to see trademark offices perform more regular audits and purge trademark databases if the registrants come up short.

In terms of new areas INTA should focus on in the future, Mr. Zohny mentioned ownership of data, which has become more important commercially. He predicts that the issue will become more and more contentious and prevalent and that, therefore, IP lawyers will have to start focusing on it.

He studied law in Germany and specialized in IP in New York, New York, USA, where he practiced law and met his wife before they moved to Switzerland.

In his spare time, Mr. Zohny enjoys spending time with his daughter and going for runs along the river while listening to music, especially by Pearl Jam, his favorite band. Asked about his favorite brand, he mentioned NETFLIX for its vision of Internet streaming of movies when they chose the name.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2020 International Trademark Association